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Despite late entry, ABB is well positioned to win in the datacenter space

Shantheri Mallaya | July 9, 2013
ABB as a company is well positioned to win in the datacenter space.

ABB as a company is well positioned to win in the datacenter space.

"Being a late entrant into the datacenter space does not hinder us. Replicating success that we have in other domains is not an unrealistic target." —Subir Pal, Country Marketing Head, ABB India

CW: Why is ABB talking about its datacenter strategy now, given that it has formidable rivals like Schneider Electric and Emerson Network Power to contend with?

PAL: ABB is structured around five divisions which drive five different kinds of businesses. We have competencies in both products and systems that drive various domains; the datacenter being one of them. The datacenter space is a sunrise sector in India whereas in other markets it is fairly established and mature. Till now, we saw servers leased out of hubs such as the US and Singapore, whereas now, telecom and IT players are increasingly setting up datacenters in major cities like Mumbai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, and Chennai.

CW: So, the datacenter strategy is a well thought- out extension of ABB's existing capabilities.

PAL: Absolutely. Traditionally, ABB has entered domains that it considers could serve as funnels for its existing and planned products. If you look at the datacenter space, we already have the entire electric chain—utility links, circuit breakers, transformers, power distribution panels, UPS, and power distribution units—right up to the server. We have the entire range in our manufacturing portfolio.

CW: What challenges are you facing in driving your datacenter message?

PAL: The datacenter is a new area into which we are expending our efforts.Creating a responsible organization internally, for a new market of an old traditional business, is the initial challenge. But there is no reason for us not to remain active in this sector. We have a team called 'industry initiative' that drives the packaging of products and solutions for a particular domain. That is how we have positioned ourselves internally. We are a focused company even from a global datacenter initiative point of view, given that the ABB center of excellence in Singapore is actively driving the APAC market.

CW: What investments has ABB made for this initiative?

PAL: In terms of resources, there are datacenter competencies built around this initiative. In process automation, we have a datacenter team built around energy management. In power systems, we have a team dedicated to datacenter connection equipment and packaged solutions. In power products, we have a team that is developing datacenter products. It is not that we only want to execute turnkey projects; we want to be the preferred vendor to engineering, procurement, and construction contractors (EPCs) who are not manufacturers themselves. We have invested in manpower resources and positioned ourselves well.


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